Dragged Into Sunlight + Wound Upon Wound + From The Bogs of Aughiska | Live Review

Dragged Into Sunlight + Wound Upon Wound + From The Bogs of Aughiska
24 May 2013 - The Pint - Dublin, Ireland.

A room shrouded in almost-darkness. The flicker of bare candlelight illuminates the macabre visage of a pair of antelope skulls resting upon two amplifiers. A statuesque, three branch candelabra sits centre-stage from which the skull of a ram hangs; an ominous totem. Five men stand with their backs to the small congregation gathered. These men form the collective, Dragged Into Sunlight.

Prior to these striking scenes at the Dublin bunker known as The Pint, From the Bogs of Aughiska immersed the crowd in percussion-less drone-scapes. The Irish duo dressed, rather bizarrely, in shirts, ties and slacks and wearing executioners’ masks, unfurled blackened feedback and morphing, ambient noise from a lone guitar and a laptop. Stark black-and-white handheld video footage, projected onto the screen behind the duo, accompanied the swells of sound that washed around the venue. Scenes of eroding coastlines, dilapidated stone buildings and crumbling crosses stressed the repetitious, layered drones that built and collapsed like the visuals they underscored. It was a performance from one of Ireland’s more interesting underground acts that allowed for some serious thought and reflection.

Wound Upon Wound provided the direct support to Dragged Into Sunlight, and the band’s post-black metal snapped the crowd out of their trance-like state. Tribal rhythms and sludgy riffs were punctured by vocalist S.M’s high-pitched shrieks, and the diminutive frame of the dreadlocked frontman betrayed the sounds that came from his throat. When the band’s tremolo attack arrived it did have the requisite bite, but the transitions between the two worlds lacked certain cohesion. Interestingly, when the band worked with slower tempos they were much more effective, and ultimately that’s where Wound Upon Wounds’ strength lies. If the band cut the black metal ties and fully embrace the other side of their sound, great things may come.

"Dragged Into Sunlight, on the other hand, have no problem picking the bones of every extreme metal genre to flesh out a mongrel beast."

Dragged Into Sunlight, on the other hand, have no problem picking the bones of every extreme metal genre to flesh out a mongrel beast. Last year’s ‘Widowmaker’ demonstrated a wider vision as cinematic post-rock and Integrity-esque hardcore met the band’s visceral sound, perfected in filth on their 2009 full-length debut, ‘Hatred For Humanity’. Laying their debut to rest tonight, the melodic textures explored on ‘Widowmaker’ are absent. With drummer J taking his seat facing the crowd, the remaining four members continue to keep their back to the audience and remain unturned. Running headlong through fast, blasting passages, moments of soul-sucking doom, the confrontational power of hardcore and death metal’s sonic demolition, Dragged Into Sunlight are relentless tonight. Vocalist T’s pained delivery wretches up boil as he tightens his grip on the microphone stand for greater emphasis. The sparse crowd is constantly battered between the eyes with every malicious note hitting its mark, and the strobe light placed on the floor erupts with intermittent blasts of white light. The entire band looks as if they are moving in slow motion as the lights pulsate with the same intensity as the music, causing nausea and disorientation. At times, the strobes are syncopated with the pulverising rhythms, but when they land off-beat, the effect is the near meeting of apoplexy and epileptic shock. This combined with the force of the music, the darkness and the rejection of all standard showmanship makes for a visceral live show. The dramatic peak of which occurs when vocalist T momentarily turns from the dark to scream facing the crowd, a beam of light catching the white of his eyes just before he turns away again in disgust. It’s a distressing image that stays long after the nausea subsides. Tonight we have witnessed Dragged Into Sunlight’s audio-visual violence at full force; too bad there wasn’t as many victims present for this sensory bombardment as there should have been. (8)

Words & Photo: Dean Brown

Dean Brown is a metal scribe based in Ireland. He is currently a contributing editor to the North American cultural magazine Popmatters and he regularly throws words for a number of other reputable loud noise publications such as About.com/heavy metal, Soundshock.com, MetalIreland.com, MoltenMagazine.com, amongst others. He has a strong affinity for music that shakes souls and leaves debilitating tinnitus in its wake and such obsession has left him financially and medically crippled, but he wouldn’t have it any other way. Follow Dean on twitter @reus85